SMART SPECIALIZATION is a concept promoted by the European Union to express the framework and mechanisms for the specialization of innovation processes at the level of a developing country/region. In the financial year 2021-2027, this concept is supported by the strategic investment objectives of the European Union's Cohesion Policy, in particular by Policy Objective 1 "A smarter Europe, by promoting an innovative and intelligent economic transformation".

The North-West Regional Development Agency has published the Smart Specialization Strategy of the North-West Development Region for the period 2021-2027.

You can download the strategy and its annexes from the links below, for further information please contact us by email at:

Smart specialization starts from the premise that no region has enough resources to be competitive in all areas, which is why it is much more effective to identify areas where it can make a difference in global competition and then focus its attention on those areas in the innovation effort. According to the basic concept of smart specialization strategies, each region has a unique potential, anchored in local specifics, which can be unlocked through certain measures, contributing to increase competitiveness through innovation. Innovation happens at the level of companies in the region through the support of the regional innovation ecosystem, consisting of universities, research structures, investment funds, guarantee funds, catalyst NGOs, funding agencies, banks, technology transfer centers, to which it adds human resources, financial materials and social capital in the region.

Smart Specialization Strategy identify the priority sectors for intervention and the appropriate models for approaching this specialization in order to support specialized innovation processes among economic agents to obtain a structural transformation of these sectors to increase their competitiveness in the global economy. The need for a strategic and integrated approach to innovation has been identified and supported at EU level since the 2014-2020 programming period, when smart specialization strategies were "ex ante conditionalities" in accessing European funds. Through the legislative package launched by the European Commission in 2018 regarding the implementation of European funds related to the 2021-2027 financial framework, a series of "favoring conditions" are provided for accessing European funds to support the Cohesion Policy. Among these, the fulfillment of the favorable condition "Good governance of the national or regional smart specialization strategy" is conditioned by the existence of smart specialization strategies at national and regional level. The development and implementation of smart specialization strategies are seen as actions that contribute to increasing innovation performance and at the same time as tools that can effectively contribute to an economic convergence of regions.

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